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Need fish course for Italian themed dinner

I want to make an outstanding dinner for DH's b-day. I have most of the menu sketched out except for the fish course. Here are my parameters:
- Easy to make with minimal cooking involved or something that can be made ahead of time

- Ideally I'd like it to be cold dish. I have in mind an Italian style ceviche using shrimp or snapper or Grav Lax using trout, but am open to suggestions

- No salmon

- Nothing too heavy or creamy it will be during the hotttest days of the summer

My menu: Amuse of cherry tomato, vodka and salt. Apps, melon with proscuitto, focaccia and mozz canapes, deviled eggs stuffed with an anchovie, tuna and lemon mixture. Entree, Steak Florentine and Ricotta Gnocchi. Dessert, Olive oil gelato with strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar and chocolate biscotti.

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  1. Seared Ahi Tuna - Goes well with steak. It's thick, flavorful and very easy to prepare. It's also great cold. Make a light wasabi sauce to drizzle over it. Maybe even a sprinkle of sesame as an artisic finish. I love asian markets for better priced very fresh ahi. Once cooked, slice cold and rest on a bed of greens. Then drizzle with wasabi dressing and sesame. Never tried reduced balsamic and wasabi but, for a more italian thing....? experiment may work. Good Luck :0

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kitchen Queen

      Seared Tuna is also delicious sliced and served on crostini with a dollop of olive oil mayo.

    2. Grilled sardines served cold, marinated in olive oil, garlic, and oregano. On your bbq and in advance, rub salt on the sardines and quickly grill them to done. Once you've grilled them, you can fillet them to remove the head and spine, or you can simply cut slits into the flesh and serve them whole. Marinate sardines in olive oil, garlic and oregano until you are ready to serve them. Remove sardines from oil marinade and serve on a bed of arugula tossed with lemon, olive oil, and fresh parmesan.

      Grilled shrimp served chilled, with diced tomato and caper salsa.

      Grilled calamari served chilled, tossed in sage pesto and toasted pine nuts.

      1. If you're going to make the ricotta gnocchi from scratch, my suggestion is to scractch the fish course and serve the gnocchi before the steak as your pasta course. If well made, gnocchi and bistecca fiorentina can and should shine on their own. Gnocchi takes so much care and love, that I find it sacreligious to serve is as a side.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bearnaise

          I agree about the gnocchi as a side...it's really not one. It's a pasta course. With the steak, I'd do some sauteed greens, maybe with pine nuts and currants or some traditional beans.

        2. I agree with Bearnaise, ditch the fish course and get appetites stoked with the gnocchi. There are not a lot of fish dishes you can make ahead that hold up well other than the old tired standbys like shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, oysters, etc.

          1. Marcella Hazan has an impressive insalata russa in her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking book: an assorment of diced fresh and pickled vegetables (green beans, potatoes, carrots, peas, beets, capers and cornichons) and chopped shrimp all bound together with an olive-oil based mayo, shaped into a mound and ringed with whole shrimp. Except for final assembly, it can be prepared well in advance. Italians would probably feature it in an all-seafood meal but there's no law saying you have to.

            1. How about squid?
              You could marinate them quickly in olive oil, red pepper flakes, marjoram and some thyme. Do a quick grill, one minute per side. Serve atop greens dressed with a lemon vinaigrette and a dab of garlicky aioli on top.

              1. The suggestions of the various fish dishes all sound great, they are exactly what I was looking for. Thanks

                1. Pesce in Saor.
                  Fish fillets fried and then marinated in a vinegar sauce with pine nuts and raisins. Must be made a day ahead. It's a dish I love.
                  Here is one recipe:
                  http://ciaoitalia.com/rc_recipe_view....

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cap

                    exactly what I was thinking! It's so good, and perfect for warm weather, and gets better when made the night before, so easy for a party. Another recipe that looks good is in Mario Batali's Molto Italiano cookbook, he uses sole, but sand dabs would be great if you can get them.

                    1. re: cap

                      That was my first thought as well. Wonderful dish most people have never had.

                      1. re: cap

                        Thanks for the link, that does sound good. DH loves the combination of fish and vinegar.